Cardigans Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Okay, first of all, forgive me as I have selfied. I had no available photographer this week so I figured out I could use a light stand as a tripod workaround. I always lose the little piece on the tripod that attaches the camera to the tripod, rendering said tripod useless. But the hard part of selfies isn’t where to put the camera or how to take the picture from umpteen feet away…it’s how to get yourself in focus!!! So, my apologies in advance for a high percentage of not-quite-in-focus pictures.

That said…I really enjoyed wearing this Karen Kane floral dress from Gwynnie Bee…BUT it was only wearable with a cardi over top. It was a little too clingy to my hip bumps and my tummy on its own…but a cardigan is magic and just glides right over those things and you’d never know there were any problem areas at all!

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Aforementioned hip bumps…not quite as evident in the photo, but trust me, they’re there.

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And tummy…

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But with the cardigan all that just disappears…

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Interestingly, my friend Julia over at When the Girls Rule just posted today about a top she calls “the fixer.” And I think a loose-fitting cardigan falls into the category of “fixer,” as it fixes whatever’s underneath. I’m borrowing your term, Julia, cuz it’s brilliant! 

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So if you have something that seems a little too snug for you in spots, don’t necessarily discount it. If you love it, you can “fix it” with a loose cardigan over top.

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Plus, they’re wonderful for extending your summer wardrobe into the cooler months of fall. I’d had this dress in my Gwynnie Bee closet for some time, and it just arrived now in the middle of October. Layering the cardigan over it made it autumnal!

Speaking of autumnal, just some borrowed scenes from my girlfriend’s front porch…

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What I Wore:

  • Karen Kane floral dress via Gwynnie Bee, 24
  • Old Navy black duster cardigan, 2x
  • Hat from Headcovers Unlimited
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I’m Cranky, but…

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I’ve been feeling very cranky this week. Everything is pissing me off: my keyboard, the mouse, the dog, the bug that keeps buzzing in my ear at night, the return of heat and humidity, this %&(&^!! acne. And more.

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In trying to figure out what the REAL issue is…I think it’s the waste of this entire year to stupid cancer and the accompanying surgery and treatments. I’ve felt crappy for too long, I’ve been stuck inside and sedentary for too long, I’ve missed out on doing fun things with friends and Caleb…and myself.

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So, treatments are over. I certainly don’t FEEL better yet…but I’m trying to force myself out a little more. A teeny tiny walk with the dog. Sitting in my chair at the beach at sunset. Having ice cream with a friend in town. Easy things but…IT’S GETTING ME OUT OF THE DAMN HOUSE!!!

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So, as the title said, I’m cranky, but…I’ve tried to keep things as easy for myself as possible this year (well, except for moving, ha ha – that was not ideal timing but it’s done). A dress like this helps. The Sharagano dress is a drapey chambray (I think it feels like a Tencel blend) and SO easy peasy to wear. It’s a loose swirly tent-fit and hardly wrinkles. I rented it through Gwynnie Bee and when the sale price went to SIXTEEN DOLLARS I snatched it right up. I love this spicey orangey rust color and it goes well with several of my duster length cardigans so I can wear it well into the autumn.

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And oh yeah, POCKETS.

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So, yes, I’m cranky, but…things are GOING to get better. Each week a little more of the chemo poison will leave my body and I’ll start feeling better and better. I’ll be able to start living MY life again…not CANCER’S life. Stupid cancer.

Soon I’ll be spending less time laying in bed and more time watching sunsets.

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Pictures taken by my friend Karen. Thanks!

Transitioning….

Transitioning from summer to fall…transitioning to my new hood….so many ch-ch-ch-changes going on!

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There’s certainly no shortage of lovely scenery around here for shooting…this is a park and marina a half mile from the apartment. It’s *really* nice at sunset.

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This dress is from a special collection by Ann Taylor Loft via Gwynnie Bee. No, Loft does not typically do plus sizes (sadface). But I was able to rent a couple pieces from the collection through Gwynnie Bee, and I really love this dress. It’s a blue/grey paisley print jersey knit sleeveless swing dress (MY FAVORITE!!!). And by just adding a lightweight black longline cardigan over top, I could extend the outfit well into the cooler temps of fall.

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I haven’t done much exploring in the area yet but yesterday after the shoot I did drive around just a little bit and found the yacht club which also had a lovely view.

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It’s a very “walky” and “doggy” area. Parks, many restaurants, etc. welcome dogs and that’s so nice.

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The paint. Not really wet.

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I look forward to feeling better SOON and being able to walk around more and bringing Caleb with me.

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What I Wore:

New Beginnings

Well, this weekend I moved into the new place! That was H-A-R-D, between not feeling well while packing, having chemo two days before moving, etc. Fortunately I had a lot of support on moving day and we got’er done in record time. Unpacking is another story, but at least everything I own is in one place again. More or less 🙂

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I’ve felt a little disoriented all weekend – sleeping in a new place, not knowing where my things are (I mean, they’re all in boxes, but WHICH boxes?!), feeling more tired than usual. It’s making everything feel a little surreal.

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Everyone keeps asking “aren’t you excited for your new beginning?” And I AM, I just can’t really FEEL it yet, if that makes sense. I have to come out of this disorienting fog and exhaustion first – new beginnings are great, but they’re also hard. Big changes and all that. Change is exciting but exhausting.

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My honorary niece, Gracie The Warrior Princess.

My daughter is coming over shortly with some groceries (and a garbage can!) and to help me get a little unpacked, so I can locate things like underwear and a pot to make soup in. I’ll feel better once I REALLY know where things are, not just “here somewhere.”

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This was the first time I wore this dress – and THAT was an easy “new beginning.” Another loose and easy-fitting dress, which was a blessing at this time. It’s a Style&Co dress via Gwynnie Bee, in a 3x. Lightweight blue Tencel, my favorite dress fabric, with a subtle white bandana print – you can see the print best in the last photo. On my head I’m wearing a vintage silk scarf that belonged to my mother. And my favorite Superga velcro sneakers.

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I found the Halloween decorations, I’m so relieved!

AND we did this little photo shoot at the new apartment! There’s a little new apartment tour at the end of this blog post, which is WAY less embarrassing than the old apartment post from last week – be sure to watch and “like” on YouTube!

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I *know* this is a good new beginning for me and as soon as I feel better I will jump up and down and shout HUZZAH! Well, maybe I’ll stand up and say Huzzah. But I will definitely FEEL like jumping up and down.

And let me know if you want to see further apartment adventures along with the outfit posts…I’m going to be videoing anyway so I can easily share if you’re interested.

Hope you’re all enjoying your week!

Bettye xoxo

When Life Hands You Lemons…

…turn them into a duster and wear them!

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So, this is a throwback to Memorial Day weekend. Somehow I’d forgotten I had these pictures or, more honestly, I didn’t like my hair that day, ha, so I kept skipping over them. Not quite so critical of my hair now that I don’t have any, ha ha.

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This story is certainly testament to the adage “you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.” Hair, health, loved ones – I’ll let this be a reminder to not take things or people for granted…and to appreciate and acknowledge the wonderful people in my life. I say this sitting next to an unopened box of thank you cards I’ve been meaning to write out since MARCH, acknowledging all the wonderful, caring and generous things people have done for me this year when I’ve been so…compromised. Ha. I don’t like to say I’m sick because I don’t feel SICK…but I have been compromised by the treatments. And people have been so helpful…or at least they’ve tried to be! I’m not good about accepting help. I always feel like *everyone* has problems/issues/weaknesses, etc., why should *I* get special treatment??

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But preparing for my move this week has really whooped my butt and fortunately I have some wonderful people helping me out so everything can get done. Because *I* am DONE. There’s very little juice left in this body right now and I have another chemo treatment later this week, so…THANK YOU to everyone who is helping me survive this move!!!

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Anyway, I got this dress from Gwynnie Bee, the Alice & You striped button down shirt dress, in a size 26. I don’t really know what I was thinking, but when I got it it was GINORMOUS. I still really liked the look of it, so instead of wearing a striped tent, I rolled the sleeves up, left it unbuttoned, and wore it as a duster over one of my favorite bases: black leggings and tee.

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So while it wasn’t *exactly* what I wanted, I was able to turn it into something I liked.

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And there were some beautiful irises blooming there that day that reminded me of my beautiful friend, Iris 🙂

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So…make some lemons work for you, one way or another…and don’t forget to appreciate the beauty in your life.

AND, a special treat – witnessing me in my utmost embarrassment…before I share the new apartment with you I thought I’d show you where I’ve been living for the past five years. Please Be Kind. It’s been a helluva year, cleaning has not been anywhere near the top of my list, and add “packing” to that and…oofah. The apartment is…well, you be the judge. Ha. The good news (for me!) is that viewing this a week after filming it, I can see how much progress I made in the past week (thank goodness! there was a night last week when I had a little meltdown because I was sure I was not going to be ready in time. But I will. Phew!).

It’s Not All Good

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So. I have to talk about The Cancer today. Through most of this time I think I’ve been pretty good at keeping my Game Face on. I am not by nature a perky, positive person. I consider myself more of a realist and prefer to face *all* things, good and bad, and not pretend bad things don’t exist. But I *have* really tried to find the good in the situation…to find some beauty along the way…small joys, blah blah blah.

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But yesterday I hit a brick wall. With all the rashes and diarrhea and queasiness and infections and sores and exhaustion and other joys that I have mostly kept to myself…the thing that I’m having the hardest time with is…losing my hair. I knew it was going to happen. I knew the particular chemo drugs I’m getting have that as a side effect. But I still hoped I would somehow escape it.

Nope.

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You know how a little hair always comes out in the shower? That’s normal. But yesterday…it just wouldn’t stop coming out. Big clumps and handfuls. And tears. Then when I tried brushing it out…it wouldn’t stop coming out. My brush was full of hair, my hands were full of hair…if I touched hair, it was coming out. I finally just wrangled it all into a messy bun and called it a day.

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I don’t know if it’s really noticeable yet because pulling hair back into a bun is sort of like a glorified combover (ha ha) but I’m sure in bright light it’s visible. And is only going to get worse.

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I’m afraid to take a shower this morning because so much more is going to come out. I’ll just wash my bangs in the sink. And hope for the best.

So I’m seriously stressing out about what I’m going to put on my head. I KNOW there are 12,000,000 options…but I don’t really see anything that looks like ME to me. I don’t feel sick, I don’t want to LOOK sick. I don’t want to look like someone ELSE. I’m not a hat person EVER – not in the winter to keep warm and not in the summer to shade my face…so this concept of having to put something on my head in the morning and leave it on All Day Long – at work, shopping, etc, just feels so awkward and foreign to me and I DON’T LIKE IT. I DON’T WANNA. WHAAAA.

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There. This is my time I’m allowed to be mad and sad and bitchy and complainy. I’M ALLOWED. I don’t want anyone trying to cheer me up, cuz you CAN’T. No one’s words can change the way I’m feeling. I’m terrified and angry. And I’m just gonna roll around in that for awhile.

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So, now that I’ve alienated half of you (ha ha), I can proceed with my outfit. I LOVE this dress. It’s by Rachel Roy via Gwynnie Bee. It’s dark dark grey and feels like velvety slinky silk. And it has this cool drapey effect on the front that hides EVERYTHING. It’s light and flowy. It’s EASY. Which is exactly what I needed yesterday.

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And we found the perfect location to shoot – this abandoned movie theater. Crumbly and littered…and yet even it had a little spot of wild flowers still growing. Even when I only WANT to focus on the ugly, I find some beauty. Damn it! Ha.

Weeks in Review: 68-74

Week by week it doesn’t feel like I do much…in fact, I’m doing a whole lot of Not Much. But when I looked back at the past 6 weeks since I last posted a Week in Review…yeah, there’s some stuff. So I’ll share.

I finished radiation. 28 treatments. That really felt like an accomplishment. I hope to never be back for more.

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I got my appetite back.

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I was so sure this baseball tee dress was going to be a win. But it wasn’t. I thought it would be cottony but it was more polyestery. And too long.

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This floral silk Lucky Brand top from Gwynnie Bee was a win.

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Nope.

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Got my blood clot filter taken out.

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I left on a jet plane. I did come back again.

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Florida! I stayed overnight with my daughter in her cute Tampa apartment.

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Cool bathroom where we had brunch.

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Katie found Tommy.

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I found the ocean. I floated and bobbed for hours. A manatee swam right past us!

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There was a beautiful sunset every night.

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My fambly ❤

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My grand-niece Annabelle is the sweetest.

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My boy was happy I finally came home.

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I got a present!

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And started real chemo.

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Meet Bruce: IV site gone wrong. One of several unpleasant issues. 9 days out from Treatment #1 I’m back to feeling almost normal. Just tired.

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Caleb got some new meds and feels good.

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Janey had a bath.

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And today I will be…PACKING…because my exciting news is I’M MOVING!!! More details and pictures to come….

Free’n’Easy

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I. Love. This. Kimono. To me it represents freedom, peace, joy, beauty…EASE. Things that have been sort of missing from my life lately. I’ve been so exhausted from treatments that my only time outdoors is pretty much walking from the car to wherever I’m going…and back again later on. I’ve missed beautiful spring evenings and beach sunsets.

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But this day I managed to spin a couple times…and walk in the grass barefoot…and feel a little easy and free.

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Fashion can do that for you. It can transport you, make you feel like a different person or like you’re living a different kind of life. And right now I need some of that.

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Do you have something special you wear when you want to feel better?

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And the good news is, I finished radiation last week…and I’m starting to feel a little more human again. Not SO exhausted all the time. Staying up past 7pm, ha.

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So here’s to feeling free’n’easy…whether in spirit or style.

What I’m Wearing:

  • Johnny Was embroidered kimono via Gwynnie Bee, 3x
  • Charlotte Russe skinny jeans, size 24
  • J Jill linen blend tee, size 24

Week in Review: Week 61

Was a pretty full and busy week – had several doctory appointments, went to dinner with friends two nights, had a little photo shoot, work is getting busier…

But we started the week with Easter at the Ex’es. I went to meet the new horse, Harley (spotted horse on the right)…and Amaretto (“Retto”) on the left.

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And said hello to Beau (horse) and Rosie and the goat whose name is NOT Cinnamon but that’s the only name I can ever THINK of for her. Wait, Ginger? Is it Ginger? It might be Ginger. Anyway, this is Rosie in the pic.

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Caleb got a little goody bag to take home after dinner 🙂  Did you notice he has the same color and markings as Rosie??

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Monday’s outfit of the day. Or is that what I wore to Easter dinner? I forget. Wow.

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Had a meeting with a social worker at Sloan-Kettering to see what kind of helpful services and programs they have. But I jumped the gun a bit as you can’t really apply to anything til you’re actually in treatment and have accrued $300 in co-pays. Which I have, just not with THEM. But I got applications to fill out so I’m all ready when the time comes. Everytime I go there’s something new blooming at the entrance.

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Wednesday’s outfit of the day. A second season dress from Alice & You and a sleeveless knit duster from CityChic. Both items via Gwynnie Bee. Maybe it’s time to say bye-bye to Hello Kitty. Goodbye Kitty?

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Had a follow-up visit to the blood doctor. They found a blood clot when I was in the hospital…it partially divided and became several blood clots in my lungs as well. So I’ve been on blood thinners and had a clot filter inserted prior to surgery. Which they now want to remove. THROUGH MY NECK. Gah. That just sounds horrible. I feel the medical profession as a whole could endeavor to make things a LITTLE more fun. I don’t know how, but they’re the ones making the big bucks, let THEM figure it out.

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My cousin sent me this picture of my mother as a baby. I think it’s hysterical! She was born in 1922.

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A package arrived from Old Navy. I’d been so excited for these items but….MEH. I’ve seen the blue floral off-the-shoulder (OTS) dress on a couple bloggers and was just in love with it…until I put it on. I knew it was a questionable choice for me because of the elastic waist. And sure enough it was just not right and I felt very fidgetty in it, constantly fussing with the waist. The OTS part was also not cooperative and I don’t even OWN a strapless bra (oh my gosh the dog just burped in his sleep and it sounded like a child said “hi”) so what was I even thinking?? It was a size 4x. I’m still addicted to striped tops and am looking for a new favorite. This was not it. Too big in the chest and shoulders, too snug at the hips. Sigh. Story of my  life. Size 4x. And I’m looking for a couple pairs of slouchy (BUT NOT SLOPPY!!!) soft fabric, like a rayon or linen blend or tencel, ankle length pants for summer. These linen blend 4x pants were just too big. I couldn’t tie them tight enough to keep them from slipping down my hips. The last dress, the mustard yellow dress is just like the light blue Tencel “nightgown” dress I had from last year…but it’s more of a gauzey rayon and a little snugger fit. Size 4x. Pass. Everything is already on its way back to Old Navy and the search continues. I can spend the same $100 on clothes for MONTHS, buying and returning, lather, rinse, repeat.

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And last (lastly?) I paid a visit yesterday to the podiatrist, FINALLY, after suffering with heel pain for almost 8 months. I’ve done the stretching exercises. I’ve rolled my foot over the golf ball and frozen water bottle. I was “off my feet” for as much as I could probably ever be between my time in the hospital and then recovering at home after the surgery. I’ve iced it. I went to physical therapy three times for stretching, massage, laser treatments and electronic stimulation. And it’s been 8 months and the pain is bad and not getting better. He took a digital x-ray which showed a heel spur and inflammation, gave me a cortisone shot (youch) and then wrapped my foot up with this cushiony pad and said to leave it on for three days. It’s already off. Ha. It was SO tight, it was as uncomfortable as the heel pain! I’m going to say the edge is off the heel pain but it’s not entirely gone. I also haven’t walked a lot since. He said it could be 4-5 days before it takes full effect. And I go back Friday to follow-up and get another shot if needed.

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And now it’s the weekend YAY. I have errands and apartment cleaning planned for today…and something FUN planned for tomorrow. And when I say PLANNED I mean, we plan to have FUN, we haven’t actually planned yet what exactly we’re doing. So it’s still a surprise.

What do YOU have planned for the weekend? And have any of you ever had success with ANY sort of treatment for heel pain/spurs?

More Gratitude

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Wow, it was fun doing a shoot again! I’ve had messages from several people saying not to worry about the blog and just focus on feeling better, but the blog is a really good distraction for me right now. I can’t just think about CANCER all the time – and believe me, it’s always trying to take the top position in my brain. I’m guessing the time may come during treatment when I. Just. Can’t. But for now, while I can…I love doing it.

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But I *am* lucky to have people who care enough to tell me to take care of myself. So…I’m feeling a gratitude post coming on!

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I’m SO grateful to all the wonderful people who have been there for me – emotionally, physically, transportationally 🙂 I generally live a pretty solitary life and I always worried about when I got “old and sick” (not that this is THAT, but…) how I was going to manage on my own…but people haven’t even made me have to figure that out. They’ve just been right there for me every step of the way. And that’s been really nice.

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I’m grateful that I had a pretty quick and easy recovery from surgery. Sure, I had a couple bad days in there, but for the most part I think it went pretty well. A month out and I’m feeling pretty much normal. The doctor initially didn’t want me to go back to work for six weeks! But this is my second week back and it’s all good.

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I’m grateful I found a dress to fit, ha! All my swelling has gone down, 20 pounds worth, gah, and I’m back in my normal clothes. This is a Gwynnie Bee dress, it’s cute, right?? I wanted something a little bright and springy and this definitely fit the bill. I love a dress with a slip layer and an outer layer like this – it keeps everything looking very smooth. It’s sleeveless but down by the water last night it was breezy and chilly so I wore it with this longline cardigan and some new chestnutty-brown flats. I have to see if I can pull out the insole and replace it with an arch support insert because otherwise GAHHHH!!!

I’m SO grateful that spring finally seems to be here! I feel I handle the cold less and less well every year and I’ve been really anxious for some COMFORTABLE (not HOT, but…) weather. And this week has been that – comfortable – and I’m appreciating the heck out of it. I’m grateful to be able to wear dresses with bare legs! Tights are the devil’s work.

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I’m grateful to My Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless for taking these pictures. I’m grateful for so many scenic places on Long Island to shoot!

I’m grateful that I’m remembering to be grateful. That has not always been my strong suit, so…yeah. If nothing else good comes out of all this, at least there’s that.

What I’m Wearing: